“I would think it’s the kind of stuff police may well have an opinion on. I’m really disappointed that sort of thing would happen to anybody. It’s a pretty disgusting thing to do to anyone in any circumstance. You just wonder what motivates people to do that. Yeah, I’m angry about it, but I’m confident it won’t have any impact on our team.”
Trodden has at his disposal someone with experience dealing with such issues. Their major sponsor is Brydens Lawyers, the law firm acting for Montana Geyer. The daughter of league legend Mark Geyer engaged Brydens’ principal Lee Hagipantelis to commence defamation action after she was incorrectly identified as the woman involved in a sex act with suspended Panthers player Tyrone May.
Given his relationship with the Blues, as well as his experience in Geyer case, it’s likely Hagipantelis will be engaged if the NSW player or the NSWRL wish to proceed with the matter. Regardless, Hagipantelis said the Blues player had the right to seek recourse.
“It may be a matter that warrants the attention of NSW police because the dissemination of that material without the consent of the participating parties is a criminal offence,” Hagipantelis said.
“The initial inquiry would be to the source, whether that be to Twitter or Facebook or Instagram. There are avenues for pre-suit discovery whereby you can issue subpoena on the institutions to produce all the relevant documentation regarding the administration of the offending site.
“The difficulty is there is nothing done by these organisations to test the veracity of the information that is provided to them when an account is opened. Anyone can log onto facebook and open an account to add material that may be true or not.
“Retweeting or reposting an item can constitute publication and then naming a person or player incorrectly for the purpose of embarrassing or denigrating that person, that can constitute defamation. The challenge to the player involved is to identify who the actual publisher of the material is.”
The Herald first reported on Monday how a video being circulated on social media allegedly involving a Blues player had threatened to sabotage their preparations for game one.
“The timing is interesting, isn’t it?” said Trodden. “It’s difficult to speculate about motivations, but there are people outside of the team who are dealing with it rather than the team itself.
“Once we get back to Sydney, people are pretty keen to go into the detail and investigate who might have been behind it and where it came from.”
Fittler immediately ruled out that any of his players were involved as the team touched down in Brisbane. The alleged player himself was briefed by Blues staff only to deny any involvement.
The video, which portrayed the alleged player in a sex act with a woman while in the company of another man, carried the tagline “dirty dawg”.
Fittler and his players were not answering questions about the incident before their captain’s run on Tuesday with Trodden nominated as the Blues spokesman.
Christian covers rugby league for The Sydney Morning Herald.
Adrian Proszenko is the Chief Rugby League Reporter for the Sydney Morning Herald.